Swimming is not a seasonal thing
Not all children have the chance to swim. Many children simply remain deprived of this skill from an early age. Why? There are many reasons for that, inter alia they have no pools in their neighbourhood, or if they do, the pools are closed for some reason. But there is one good news in all of this! To learn how to swim, you don't have to have a pool in the yard, on the roof, a river or a lake in the city, the sea fifteen minutes away from home ... it is enough to have the will and desire to find one.
Many children, non-swimmers or those swimming from an early age, travel with their parents more than 100 km in one direction two or three times a week so that they could swim. It sounds crazy especially in winter, when it’s raining, or even when it’s boiling hot. No, here I’m not talking about parents and children who are Olympic swimmers today or those want to get there. I’m talking about families who realised that swimming is a life skill that their child needs not only during the summer months, but during all 365 days a year.
Once they become independent, those children will continue to swim with ease, both in the water and in life. Neither the mileage nor the season is a barrier for them to get to the pool or open waters in order to swim. Getting committed to swimming is another story, but it is up to us, parents, to discover, offer and support them in swimming.
Swimming 365 days a year, in winter and summer…
Some of the examples below may motivate you to find a suitable pool and swim with your children all 365 days a year.
At the age of five, after a surgery, he could only move in the water. Back then, but even now, there was no swimming pool in the place where he lived. That did not stop his mother from driving her son 36km several times a week, taking her 45 minutes in one direction, so that her son could swim. He hasn’t stopped swimming and conquering the world ever since. He swam even when all the pools in the world were closed. When he had limited time to fly to the place where he will be able to continue swimming even during the pandemic. At the time when travelling was not allowed anywhere in the world, he found a water corner under the open sky where he could swim every day. Today, apart from swimming, he also runs and rides a bicycle. And it may happen that you bump into him in your own city, on a quay by a river, or in a pool, as he will be swimming in Tokyo soon.
It was winter when he started going to a swim school at the age of six. He was lucky that his pool was a five-minute walk away. However, a year later he moved. The pool was no longer across the street. The parents used to drive him to the trainings as they managed ... He became a good swimmer. There were days when, as a ten-year-old boy, he would take a bus to the other side of the city, in the rain, snow, early dawn, when the roosters were still asleep - just to swim. He found pleasure in it. As the years passed, school obligations became more and more demanding. He didn't give up. Today, he is 18 years old and whenever he has free time he goes to swim for his own gusto.
The twins. They came to the pool for the first time when they were two. It was February 2013. Wintertime. The class started at nine o'clock in the morning, and they had travelled for two hours to get there. Mom and Dad took them to baby swimming lessons twice a week, because there was no pool in their town. They were never late. Seven years later, the twins are still swimming and enjoying it. The parents have found a pool that is closer, an hour drive from home.
Did the twins get sick during the winter because of swimming? No. The immune system is not acquired partially by seasons or weather conditions, it is acquired continuously from spring to winter ... It is the same with swimming. Children who wait nine months for summer in order to swim are actually wasting their time they could spend on this life skill.
At the age of 45, he set a goal to finish his first "Iron Man" triathlon in Florida (USA) in the winter of 2014 (3.86km swimming, 180.25 cycling and 42.2km running). As an excellent former long-time swimmer of longer sections, once he started with triathlon, he had a great prospect to become a good marathoner, not only in swimming. Due to his professional obligations, he took a longer break for some couple of years, but then he came back as strong as
never before with a greater desire to make his dream come true. He was so determined that, one November while I was taking a walk along the quay, instead of seeing him running or riding a bike, I saw him swimming in the river, of course in a special swim suit. He knew that this was the only way he could succeed and that the water temperature of some 20 degrees was waiting for him there in December as well. You think he failed!?
My babies have been in the pool since the age of fourth months. Little Shark had his first encounter with swimming during the summer months, while Little Fish had her first encounter with swimming in the middle of a harsh winter. Were they troubled by a runny nose afterwards? Yes, they were. Did they cough after swimming in winter? Yes, a lot. They caught a cold. Was that a reason to stop swimming in winter? No. Do they swim in winter now? Yes, they do. We always try to find a pool with warm water where they can enjoy swimming. However, there were cases when the water was colder than the standard one. They just kept swimming. Why? Because swimming is a life skill that makes children kind. Because they want to and love to spend as much time in the water as possible. Then again, you never know when a child may fall into the water. Safety comes first, both in and around the water.
Why swimming isn’t a seasonal activity?
Let's take a look at it from a different perspective. Where and at what swimming level will your child be next summer? Think about it. If you take a break and stop with classes now, you will waste a few months, or even half a year, in terms of the progress and skills your child could acquire. And once the summer arrives and when the child gets the access to swimming pools, water parks, lakes and beaches again, he/she will hardly be safe and skilful in his/her swimming journey as he/she could have been.
That is why I recommend year-round swimming lessons. At least 30 minutes once a week, so that the children can upgrade what they have already learnt. In that way, they will gain confidence and become much safer in and near the water. By giving your children a fun and an active escape during the cold winter months, in a form of swimming in a safe water environment, trust me, you will have better, safer and more skilled swimmers next summer. And in the meantime, they will stay active and be proud of everything they achieve.
Life is more beautiful when you’re swimming!